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The World of Scouting: There’s more to it than you may think

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Meghan, overlooking the Rayado River Valley, at Philmont Scout Ranch, a few days before she continued her summer journey to Japan

My name is Meghan Pierson and I am a scout. I am also a 20 year-old female Chemical Engineering Junior at Cornell University, and actively involved in World Scouting.   

This past summer, the 23rd World Scout Jamboree was held in Kirara-hama, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, where 33,000 scouts from all around the world gathered for 2 weeks to make international memories. Each day participants, ages 14 to 17, learned about the science, culture, and diversity of this world and the host country Japan, while making international friends. Many scouting programs throughout the world are co-ed, so World Jamborees are attended by girls and boys alike. Venturing is the co-ed program of the Boy Scouts of America for 14 to 21 year olds, and is the American equivalent to other world scouting programs. 

World Scout Jamborees occur every 4 years and the next will be held in North America. Hosted by Scouts Canada, Scouts of Mexico and Boy Scouts of America, at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia, USA. I am the female American on the Youth Promotional and Planning team for the next World Scout Jamboree in 2019. Our team consists of 9 youths from the 3 host countries. We attended the Japan Jamboree this summer as staff to promote the upcoming Jamboree in 4 years. We manned the 2019 World Scout Jamboree booth, presenting in our three official languages: Spanish, French and English. I tested my elementary French skills and intermediate Spanish skills when I presented in French and conducted a ‘Question and Answer’ session in Spanish. We attended planning meetings, to observe the operations in Japan. Our team also ventured to Hiroshima and Yamaguchi to experience the depth and beauty of Japanese culture.

The highlight of our time in Japan was the Closing Ceremony, where the Japanese passed the World Organization of Scouting Movement (WOSM) flag to our team. I had the opportunity to address the 33,000 participants of this summer’s Jamboree, inviting them to the 2019 Jamboree. Then, all together, we took the first selfie of the 24th World Scout Jamboree.

Our jobs did not end in Japan; in fact, we are just getting started. We manage the social media accounts for the 2019 World Scout Jamboree to build the enthusiasm for this upcoming world event. We will also be attending regional jamborees around the world for the next three summers, including Canadian Jamboree and BSA National Jamboree in summer 2017. 

In addition to an international platform, Venturing is also an opportunity for high adventure activities domestically. Before heading to Japan, I worked as a Ranger at Philmont Scout Ranch, one of three National High Adventure Bases of the Boy Scouts of America. In its 77th season this summer, Philmont welcomed 22,000 participants to backpack through the 240,000 acres of backcountry in northern New Mexico. I was a previous participant of a 12- day trek in 2010 and of a 21-day girl’s only special trek in 2014. As a Ranger this summer, I led 8 crews for their first 3 days on the trail, guiding them through backpacking procedures and wilderness protection. I was one of 30 women in the 300-person Ranger department.

Scouting does not stop at 18.  It is not only in the United States and the boys are not the only ones who can embrace the experience. Scouting instead is an opportunity for girls and boys alike to experience the world and earth in new ways. 

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